Earlier this autumn, Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital and the Boulder Falls Center hosted an international gathering of Japanese garden professionals, enthusiasts, academics and students from across the globe. The North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) held its biennial conference in downtown Portland, with tours of the Healing Garden at SLCH, the entrance piece to the Samaritan Health Sciences Campus and the one-acre garden adjacent to the Boulder Falls Center.
All three gardens were financed completely through philanthropic campaigns managed by the Lebanon Community Hospital Foundation.
Hoichi Kurisu, internationally acclaimed landscape designer who developed the gardens, led tours of the hospital garden. He spoke about the gardens’ history, Japanese design philosophy and his mission of bringing healing landscapes to the world. Bill Rauch, past president of the Lebanon Community Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees, led tours of the gardens associated with the health sciences campus.
A total of 104 people from the conference attended the tours. Visitors hailed from several U.S. states as well as nations from Europe to Japan to Honduras.
“It’s impossible to measure the tremendous impact that our Healing Garden has had on our patients, our staff and the community,” said Marty Cahill, CEO of SLCH. “I love hearing the stories from our patients and staff of the effect that time in the garden had on them. And it’s exciting to know that our garden has played a role in the continued economic growth that Lebanon has experienced.”
Kurisu has been designing and building gardens for nearly 50 years, across the United States and abroad – including the Talking Water Gardens in Albany and a new garden within the walls of the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem.
“My dream is to create natural spaces that enrich lives ... spaces that provide an opportunity to deepen our understanding – not just of ecology, but of ourselves,” says Kurisu.
The NAJGA conference theme was “Japan’s Gift to the World: Japanese Gardens as Global Phenomenon.” The conference will feature individual speakers and panels with simultaneous translation in Japanese and English as well as hands-on workshops in gardening skills.
Visit NAJGA online to learn more.
Learn more about giving by visiting Samaritan Foundations.